This is the second in a series of robots to be delivered from UNDP to different hospitals throughout Viet Nam for testing ecosystem and robotic applications: diagnosis, tele-training, autonomous delivery of supplies for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Earlier, UNDP provided three robots to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and were perceived by the Hospital staff as useful in reducing their risk of exposure to the virus. The intention was not to replace existing doctors and nurses, it was to complement and to provide safety in highly infectious context.

Photo: UNDP

Addressing the Reception Ceremony chaired by Vice Minister of Health Mr. Tran Van Thuan, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam Caitlin Wiesen congratulated the Ministry on the occasion of Viet Nam National Day, saying that Viet Nam and the UN share the values of freedom, equality, solidarity, transparency and respect for nature, and have been working together to make these principles a reality.

“Viet Nam exemplary response to COVID-19 is an example of this. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Health for your great contribution to Viet Nam’s success in responding to the pandemic, especially your quick action in mobilizing best doctors for treatment of COVID-19 patients and containment of the virus spread during the recent resurgence,” she said.

Viet Nam is a tropical country that is prone to many different infectious diseases like H1N1, H5N1 and SARS and yearly incurring diseases such as Hepatitis A and B, and dengue fever. These robots can therefore help protect the safety of frontline doctors and healthcare workers in dealing with such health shock situations.

Vice Minister of Health Mr. Tran Van Thuan thanked UNDP for its timely support to the Ministry. “Ohmni Robots donated by UNDP have the main function of remote communication, diagnoses and treatment without direct contacts with the patients. The National Hospital for Tropical Diseases has used this robot and highly appreciate it. I hope that modern science and technology will help partly ease the pressure on doctors and nurses, thus increasing the effectiveness of their treatment and care for COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Photo: UNDP

Ms. Caitlin Wiesen shared three steps to build a healthy robotic ecosystem in Viet Nam. First, by providing these robots, UNDP hope to receive detailed comments and feedbacks from various hospitals regarding the daily use of these robots. These will help the production teams to better understand the needs and challenges of frontline doctors and nurses.

Secondly, once the robots have been tested in different hospitals, UNDP will organize dialogues among different robot makers in the country, coming from both public and private sector, so they can learn from each other’s expertise and experiences.

Then, an open dialogue among the hospitals, healthcare system stakeholders and robot makers will be conducted to understand the opportunities and challenges, the “customer needs” and the necessary infrastructure and policy support to ensure the successful robotic application.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNDP has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and delivered critical support to the Ministry in terms of PPE procurement; prevention communication to  ethnic minority people and people with disabilities; facilitation of dialogues between the Ministry and private sector PPE producers to ensure continuous and timely PPE supply chain in Viet Nam; and development of a software for telehealth service at the grassroot level./.

Khac Kien